Today we plan on taking the Woodlines track to Cave Hill but upon reaching the start of the track it appears the bushes on either side of the track have become overgrown. Going down that track would scratch the hell out of our Tritons and campers, so we make the decision to stick to the road for the 40km drive to Cave Hill.
Due to this we arrive at lunch time and find a large plot to fit us both and the campfire is still smouldering so we had no trouble getting a fire going for the evening. After setting up camp I was itching to go exploring so I sneak away for a look on the rock.
After pushing through the bushes I reach the edge of the granite outcrop and almost immediately I find my first orchid. It is a small Dainty blue orchid (Cyanicula amplexans) which flowers August to early October in an inland range from Kalbarri to Norseman.
Within a few metres of this exciting find I stumble across some Shy greenhoods (Pterostylis allantoidea) mixed in with some Hairy-stemmed snail orchids (Pterostylis sp. ‘inland’). In fact two of them seemed to be having a chat.
Also close by was a single specimen of the Ant orchid (Caladenia roei) which flowers August to October in a widely distributed range from Eurardy Station to Ravensthorpe.
Further around the base of the rock I stumble across more Dainty Blue orchids, Hairy-stemmed snail orchids and Ant orchids.
Then just before heading back to the camp ground I spied a very small Dainty blue orchid that was very different to the rest. This one was the rare White colour variant.
I rushed back to tell the others of my finds and found them all but unpacked and set-up, so it was time to go exploring together. I showed them the Dainty blue orchid, Ant orchid, Shy greenhood and Hairy-stemmed orchids I had found, however due to time constraints we decide to move further around the base of the rock towards the 3 dams. Interestingly Debbie spies an orchid I had overlooked. A small Little laughing leek orchid (Prasophyllum gracile) is found sticking up some 50mm from it’s mossy rock home. Nearby a neighbour was found with more flowers fully open. Great eyes Deb.
We make it to the 3 dams without any major finds then head up towards the summit of the rock.
Here we stumble across a few scattered donkey orchids then come across a patch of many, including a deformed specimen. Based on location these must be more Yellow granite donkey orchids (Diuris hazeliae) which we found on previous days at the other rocks further north.
As light is fading and we need to cook dinner on the campfire, we make our way back towards camp. On the way we find further Hairy-stemmed snail orchids (with an unusual dull fawn colour) and some Ant orchids. I grab a few snaps and then catch Deb and Richard for the push through the scrub back to our camp.
Another great day exploring with some great finds. The White dainty blue orchid was the highlight. Now to enjoy a cooked meal on the campfire and a good nights sleep.
After a hearty campfire cooked breakfast, we have a lazy time around camp. Then Richard and Debbie make the decision to go exploring back towards Widgiemooltha with the metal detector. Whilst they were away I took time to rest up to fully recover from feeling unwell over the last few days.
It was late afternoon, after the prospectors had returned empty handed, that we decide to go check out the so called cave this rock was named after. Orchid hunting on the way of course 🙂 First up we came across more Yellow granite donkey orchids and Shy greenhoods.
Then in the wonderful late afternoon sunlight the cave-like feature appeared. It was amazing weather shaped rock in varying colours.
We now make tracks back to camp, whilst looking for more orchids of course. First up we find some more Dainty blue orchids but then a patch of Sugar orchids (Ericksonella saccharata) is found. Two are growing so close together I just had to take their picture.
Further Ant orchids, Hairy-stemmed snail orchids and Little laughing leek orchids were also found however with the fading light, no great photos were taken and as they are already pictured in the post I will not add any more. However I must share one more shot of the “Cave” in the light of sunset. The colour change to the earlier photo is amazing.
As has become usual practise we have a campfire cooked dinner then hit the sack.
7 orchid species found at this location which is not too shabby.
The white Dainty blue orchid was by far the most exciting find of the trip so far.